We Must Accept the Blame for the Troubled Boy Child

I was once a boy child.

I grew up in a time when having a son was considered a blessing. And after a certain age, all my short-comings and indiscretions were dismissed as “boys will be boys”. This is not to say that I wasn’t raised right. As a son, parents were never really scared of you falling prey to bad company, drugs and alcohol, or getting your heart broken by girls or contracting a life-threatening disease or fathering a child out of wedlock. These concerns were largely directed to the girl child because she was always seen as the more vulnerable one, the one that needed to be given the best possible chance to succeed. For the boy-child, it was believed that all it took was constant reminders of “be a man!” and observing the older men around to figure out how to navigate through life.

It is indeed true that the boy child in Africa for many generations has unwittingly benefitted from a patriarchal society that has prized men over women and sons over daughters. And so, the boy child used this gender imbalance as a crutch to get by in life and even prosper with very little effort compared with his female counterparts.
But that was then, now things have changed. As issues of women’s empowerment gain prominence and a wide array of policies aimed at uplifting the girl child start to bear fruit, suddenly the boy child is now emerging as the threatened one.

There are two schools of thought that appear to be emerging on the way forward.

One view widely held is that women are unfairly overburdened. As it stands, mothers, aunts, sisters, wives, females in general carry the load of empowering the girl child as well as providing support and guidance to the boy child. While men do little or nothing.
Women’s rights activists therefore believe that society should stop blaming women for the troubled boy child. Furthermore, women should no longer be considered as the custodians of traditional societal values such that when children stray and destroy their lives, blame is heaped on women failing to raise them right. Therefore the reproductive role can no longer be borne by women alone. The responsibilities of pregnancy and child rearing must be shared equally between the man and the woman, as much as possible.
Therefore, this school of thought concludes by stating that the troubled boy child dilemma should not be left to women to figure out and deal with. Men themselves should start holding the boy child’s hand the way women have long been doing with the girl child.

The second school of thought, which I happen to espouse, begins by conceding that menfolk have indeed neglected their duties to the boy child as fathers, father-figures, big brothers, cousins, uncles leaving the boy-child neglected and troubled. However, the overall responsibility of ensuring that there is gender balance in society remains a concerted effort between both men and women, especially those already involved in the human rights movement and within civil society.

The appeal being made in this regard is that women ought to make affirmative action to be more about gender empowerment than just women empowerment. The danger of not addressing the emerging issues surrounding the boy child is that we are slowly breeding an angry, misunderstood and marginalized generation of men which has serious social consequences. And so like my protégée Nittzsah I agree that we need to shine the spotlight on the boy child. However, dealing with the troubled boy child issue cannot be divorced from the empowerment of the girl child. The challenge to men (formerly boy children like me) is to get more involved and actively participate in the formulation and implementation of affirmative action programmes and policies geared to addressing gender disparities for the betterment of the entire society.

At a societal level, empowered men can start by mentoring younger males within the family and in the community, having meaningful discussions and talks with them about what it really means to be a man and the challenges of manhood that await them. It’s time that we, men played our part.

The No.1 Problem With The Youth In Kenya

Greed

I’ve walked up to a lot of people – I’d say hundreds – and asked them the following question.

“If I gave you a blank cheque, right now, and told you you would get whatever amount you put on it, what would you write?”

The shallower younger ones made up numbers(a ‘gajillion’ might have been the most popular). The overthinkers rationalized and asked what the limits were. The moderate intellects thought about it and then came up with a number in some foreign currency. The people who wanted to seem smart asked me what I would write on it. But you know what the large majority said?

“I don’t know.”

And therein lies the issue with the way we think. It’s not the lack of ability or talent; resource or opportunity; it’s a seeming lack of ambition and direction. Continue reading

Unemployment: “Kenya’s Favourite Pastime”

Unemployment Pig
A colleague of mine from the US was recently being outlandishly narrow-minded about the current state of affairs in Kenya. He said, and I quote: “One of the major downfalls of the country is the inexplicably high unemployment rate.” And you know what, in a textbook context, he may be right. About one in 2 able bodied adults are unemployed. Really, it’s about 4 out of 10, but when you take into consideration that most unemployed people are not featured in censuses and the likes, it may be significantly higher. So that makes sense on the surface. But dig a little deeper, I say.

I did. And after years of watching Kenyans and foreigners complain and working both here and abroad, I have decided on the few following facts.

1. The only people that apply for jobs are people who have jobs.
2. The people who have jobs and don’t apply for other jobs are subconsciously trying to get fired.
3. Most wananchi are resolved – no, determined – to remain unemployed.

There is a reason behind these mad statements. Let me explain. Continue reading

Arrest Wives of Illicit-Brew Drinkers

So 13 stupid men died and several others lost their eye-sight last week after consuming some brew whose ingredients may be found in a nuclear bomb. I don’t feel jack shit! And even if that number would have hit a million, I wouldn’t care either. Had the government called it a national crisis and declared a national day of mourning, I would have given them the finger and taken the first flight to Poland to mourn a president I didn’t know.

I can’t stand drunkards.

And to all those that consumed that shit and keep consuming it, eff you all! I have no sympathy for you whatsoever. To that guy in Kawangware who on National Television said that he takes that sickening crap because he earns Ksh.350 and has five kids and a wife, I have one thing to say, ‘I’ll buy you a rope if you promise to hang yourself.’

How the consumption of illicit brew has gone on for so many years, while hundreds have lost their lives is just damning. The latest incident in Shauri Moyo should give the government reason enough to take more stringent measures to not only curb this menace, but make it look like it never existed in the first place.

I recommend two things:

Shoot to Kill: When a man loses his capacity to work, his ability to provide to his family by virtue of his hard work or theft, his capability to bear children, his eyesight and his very character and stature in society, all these at his own volition and.., at an expense? That to me is tantamount to a grievous crime. Such a man should be shown no mercy, whatsoever. He should be executed without trial. I suggest the effective, trigger-happy Administration Police be appointed this task. Going by the fact that such a man is ever high and never in touch with his immediate environment, attests to the fact that he has no desire to live. His escapist mentality that prevents him from working out his problems like we all painstakingly do, does not in anyway contribute to the growth of our ailing economy. The fact that he chooses.., yes chooses, in fact pays,  to go blind only means that Vision 2030 is nowhere within his sights. And NO! I will not recommend any alcohol rehab to an adult who consumes illicit liquor made from methanol and sewage. Even dogs no better than to drink some shit!

Arrest Wives of Illicit Brew Drinkers: I have been there. I know what it is like to live with a drunk, to feed his evil, to not share a bed with him when you’re supposed to and finally to get bartered by him.  And by the way things were going; I would have shot him in the head. Sense prevailed and I took him to the police station myself. Never came back to my life.

In short, any woman – mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, and niece – who has a husband that habitually consumes illicit brew should be arrested and charged with harboring a criminal. The public should no longer watch with sympathy when an old woman from Gatanga constituency complains that her husband cannot make love to her, cannot get her pregnant, cannot control his bladder and therefore urinates in bed, and cannot work making his wife the bread winner of the family, if not the head of the household. No way!

I’ll say it here and clear. Those women choose to be with their useless husbands. Okay? Don’t get it twisted. You shouldn’t feel a morsel of sympathy. Don’t cry with them. Get them arrested. And once they appear before a judge, they can tell us why they are still with their husbands if those men are clearly adding no value to the family.

The fact that these wives sustain themselves and their husbands’ drinking habits, without government support, goes to show that they are capable of taking care of their children without the nagging nuisance of an embarrassing husband whose decorum can be rivaled by a hyena.

Therefore, if any wife goes ahead to defend her illicit-brew drinking husband’s habits, she too should be subjected to recommendation no. 1 as mentioned above.

And in conclusion, you are free to add, here below, any other harsh yet effective recommendations that are likely lead to instant death.